Minister launches €5m geological project in border counties

15 Feb 2011

The Minister for Natural Resources Conor Lenihan TD today launched a €5m EU-funded geological project to map the natural resources of the border counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth.

The Tellus Border project is a joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and Queen’s University, Belfast.

The project is based on the award-winning Tellus Project in Northern Ireland, which created new environmental maps and digital data of soils, rocks and stream waters of the whole of Northern Ireland.

Lenihan said, “I am delighted to announce this important project that will provide top-level geological information to ensure sustainable use of Ireland’s natural resources.

“Over the next three years, extensive survey work will be carried out in Ireland’s border counties, providing important background information on geology, stream water quality and potential pollution sources, which will help to inform the work of a number of different partners including my own department.”

Scientists from the centre for Freshwater Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology, will also participate in the project by conducting a wetlands study in the border region.

Dr Suzanne Linnane, the centre’s director, revealed that, “We plan to focus our efforts on improving the management and protection of wetlands in the border region. We can achieve this by researching how and why wetlands occur, operate and what variables most affect the ecology of wetlands. DkIT is pleased to be part of this major investment in earth science and environmental research in Ireland.”

Pat Colgan, chief executive of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), welcomed the launch of the new project.

“Upon completion, this innovative project will inform and improve sustainable land management practices across Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland. It has been supported under the cross-border infrastructure element of the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, which is encouraging sustainable development in a number of sectors, including environmental protection,” Colgan said.